Break for the Border - grocery shoppers heading North again
Sterling weakness is prompting more shoppers to cross the Border for their groceries, with more than 207,000 households making the trip to the North to take advantage of the cheaper prices.
The statistics - released by Kantar Worldpanel - show that alcohol is the main lure for shoppers, with a quarter of the money being spent by Border shoppers on booze.
"While these excursions account for a relatively small percentage of each family's supermarket visits - on average, eight out of 270 annual trips - they spend substantially more when they cross the Border," according to Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel.
"Of the €65m spent by Republic of Ireland shoppers in Northern Ireland over the past year, a quarter went on alcohol, adding up to just over €16m," he said.
"No other food or drink category comes close, with dairy products accounting for the next largest share of cross-border spend, at 5.9pc.
"Shoppers from the Republic spent €38.50 on an average shop in Northern Ireland while the average spend back home is €23.70. This is likely to be because they want to make the extra effort worthwhile," he added.
Kantar Worldpanel said that weak sterling has also benefited shoppers in the Republic, however.
"The cost of importing products to Ireland from Britain has fallen while goods made in Ireland with British ingredients have typically been cheaper to produce," explained Mr Faughnan.
"This has allowed retailers to pass savings on to their customers - vital in such a competitive market - and as a result grocery prices in Ireland have for the most part been falling since March 2017."
Latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel show that Dunnes Stores has retained the top spot in Ireland's grocery retailer league table, pulling significantly ahead of its two main rivals, Tesco and SuperValu.
Dunnes had a 22.4pc share of the multi-billion-euro grocery market in the 12 weeks to November 4, according to figures this morning from the research group.
Musgrave-controlled SuperValu had 21.4pc, while Tesco had 21.3pc.